JIM SHEA My football preferences, mansplained
Are you ready for some football?
Most people are.
Football is the most popular sport in the country.
Surveys show that 37 percent of Americans list football as their favorite sport. In contrast, 11 percent give the nod to basketball, 9 percent to baseball and 7 percent to soccer, I repeat, soccer.
You want to know what is wrong with this country? Look no farther than the fact that soccer is poised to make America’s pastime, America’s past time.
There is no joy in Mudville over this I can assure you.
But we were talking about football.
The National Football League regular season kicked off on Thursday, and will dominate Sunday afternoons and evenings from now until January.
I’m not saying I will tune into every game, but it’s nice to know they are there.
I take watching football seriously. Some might say too seriously. Some might say I need help. I admit I do have my ways.
I prefer to watch games alone: When you watch games with other people they seem to expect you to acknowledge their presence, even talk to them. Having a conversation while a game is in progress is distracting, particularly if you are dozing at the moment.
I prefer to skip all the pregame, postgame and halftime shows in which over-dressed former players provide obvious analysis while laughing too hard at each other’s lame-o jokes. These shows remind me too much of work meetings.
I prefer to watch football in a reclining or prone position. I find this to be the most effective way to maintain your energy level. Stamina is especially important if you are watching several games at once.
I prefer to drink plenty of fluids when watching a game. Not being sufficiently hydrated can lead to confusion and poor decision making. In a dehydrated state, I once watched a soccer game for several minutes before realizing — to my horror — it wasn’t American football.
I prefer to view football on a full stomach. Having a low threshold for hunger pains I have missed key moments of games because I was in the kitchen seeking nourishment. To address this problem, I have on numerous occasions proposed the refrigerator be moved into the family room for the season. This solution was not only vetoed, but ridiculed.
I prefer, if I can’t get out of it, to watch football in the company of women who don’t understand the game. There is no more pleasurable subject on which to mansplain than football.
I prefer not to combine watching football with participating in fantasy football. Fantasy football detracts from the game at hand. Also, the last thing my fantasy life needs is more fantasy.
I prefer not to wager on football. Betting on your team creates divided loyalties. If your team wins you can still lose. If your team loses you can still win. So, do you root for your team or for the money? Granted, there are times when your team wins the game and covers the point spread. But then, there are also times when your Power Ball number comes in.
I prefer to not wear any personalized team paraphernalia. Too risky. What if you are wearing a jersey with a player’s name on the back and he does something unforgivable, like fumble on the goal line. Do you really want to be so closely identified with this loser?
I prefer not to watch football with my wife. This is because she does not take the game seriously. I once saw her, with malice aforethought mind you, wade into the middle of a group of rabid football fans at a Super Bowl party and ask what inning it was. The host was very understanding. I thought we should have been asked to leave.
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist. firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @jimboshea.